“For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill. The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.” ~Sun Tzu
To become a peaceful warrior is one of the greatest challenges we face in our lives. Obviously, it’s something which takes a lot of practice.
While most people will agree that they really don’t like fighting, dealing with confrontation peacefully seems to be an acquired skill. One that can take years of practice.
Everyday life isn’t at all like going to battle. However, the battles we face in our personal lives can be just as emotionally trying!
As I recently re-read The Art of War, I realized my own weakness when it comes to allowing emotion to dictate my behavior. That isn’t the way of a successful warrior, leader, friend, lover or parent.
Part of my own voyage of discovery is constantly striving to overcome emotion before it overcomes me. To deal with conflict without arguing, fighting or saying unkind, critical & hurtful words can be a challenge – especially when we’re tied to the situation emotionally.
Snarky comments and sarcastic comebacks aren’t helpful. They actually draw you deeper into the negative emotions of a conflict. I struggle with this, as I feel the need to defend myself. In truth, if what we’ve said or done is right, there is no need to defend in the midst of most arguments.
Some people seem to think arguing is like a duel. As if they can get in the best verbal jab or comeback and “win”. Remember, there’s no winner in an argument.
It’s better to some let time dissipate the highly-charged emotion of an argument before trying to discuss things reasonably since we’re usually not reasonable when upset. It’s not a sign of weakness to ask if you can come back to the discussion a little later.
Once things have cooled off, begin by apologizing for your own anger or the hurtful things you’ve said. Then, you can go into what you perceived the other person was trying to say and ask if you got it right, or if clarification is needed.
Understanding is key to dealing with any type of problem. It takes effort to work through things – especially in a close relationship.
Be persistent in the effort to understand, not in being understood.